Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Yordano Ventura Considered One of ESPN's Breakout Candidates

July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; World pitcher Yordano Ventura throws a pitch during the first inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It is amazing what a winning season can do.

After years of essentially being ignored by virtually everyone that was not a Royals fan, the Kansas City Royals have suddenly become interesting. The Royals are considered to be a potential playoff team, and even find themselves garnering national attention. Even that self proclaimed sports media king, ESPN, has actually paid some attention to the Royals lately.

In David Schoenfield’s list of ten potential breakout candidates, he listed Yordano Ventura as one of the five pitchers he expects to take the next step this season. Ventura has been a hot name, ranking high upon not only the Royals top prospects, but as one of the top prospects in baseball. It is certainly easy to see why, with his fastball that routinely hit 100 MPH last season and his production in the minor leagues last season, putting together a 3.14 ERA while striking out 155 batters in 132.2 innings. Even with all those strikeouts, Ventura had a strikeout to walk rate of 2.92.

As Schoenfield pointed, out, the Royals had enough trust in Ventura to give him three starts while they were still in contention for the Wild Card last season. Obviously, they appear to be as high on Ventura as the rest of baseball seems to be. Yet, should Ventura truly be considered a breakout candidate at this point?

The biggest issue with that is how the Royals plan on handling Yordano Ventura this season. The fifth starter spot is likely to be between the generally underwhelming Wade Davis and the potentially resurgent Luke Hochevar. With the ability to keep Ventura in the minors long enough to delay his arbitration clock, chances are that both Hochevar and Davis would need to implode during Spring Training in order for Ventura to begin the season in the majors.

Ventura is also thought to need to work on his secondary pitches.. While his fastball is electric, Ventura’s curveball and changeup still considered to need work. It may be better for him to work on both pitches in Omaha, instead of trying to refine two pitches in the majors while pitching well enough to help the Royals contend for the playoffs this season.

Yordano Ventura may well be a breakout candidate if he starts the season in the rotation, but that is unlikely to happen. Now, if Schoenfield was talking about breakout players for the second half of the season, he could be on to something.


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Tags: Kansas City Royals Yordano Ventura

  • Dave Lowe

    David, how do you know Ventura’s change up and curveball still need work?

    • Redblack564

      Exactly with a 100 mph fastball all he would need is a + straight change and an average breaking ball

    • Dave Hill

      Both pitches have improved, but I’ve seen a few reports that say they still need work. If the Royals have any questions about those pitches at all, he should start the season in Omaha.

      • Dave Lowe

        Hmm…Ok, well please state it that way: that you’ve seen reports that his change and curve need work, and then cite sources or maybe the name of the reporter.

        • Dave Hill

          Meant to write that part as ‘Ventura is also thought to need to work on his secondary pitches.” That has been corrected.

  • moretrouble

    I watched Ventura pitch two starts last fall on television and I thought his change looked very good. He could have gotten better location on his CB, but there was sufficient movement there and a nice difference in velocity. I saw hitters taking Ventura’s breaking pitches — that tells me they can either read his motion or see the ball too soon.

    Whatever improvements his coaches are suggesting, if Ventura can make the adjustments, I don’t think the Super Two status — by itself — would be enough to keep him at AAA. The decision to send him out, I believe, would be made on how effective they think he can be this year. You may be right — if Davis and/or Hoch throw well this spring, perhaps Ventura isn’t enough of an upgrade right now to keep him on the club.